Ocean Isle – May 25, 2017
Jeff, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that inshore the flounder bite is picking up, with most fish in the 13-18” range (but some up to 23”). Using a Carolina rig with a live pogie or mud minnow has been the most successful strategy.
The trout bite has been active on shrimp under float rigs or by throwing topwaters in the mornings. Many specks have been landed in the 2-3 lb. range, with even a few citation-sized fish mixed in.
Those looking for black drum should use fresh shrimp and throw around oyster beds and dock structure in area creeks or the waterway.
When finger mullet can be found, they have been the ticket for the most consistent red drum bite. The reds seem to be more willing to take a mullet now that the weather is starting to change.
Derek, of Ocean Isle Fishing Center, reports that the nearshore spanish bite has been difficult due to dirty water near the beach. However, heading 2-3 miles out, some cobia have been found on bait pods.
Traveling further out to the 10 mile range, anglers will find spanish mackerel and king mackerel around the area reefs. Trolling around reefs with Clarkspoons should produce keeper-sized spanish.
From 20-25 miles out, the kings have been feeding well on live bait when the conditions are right. Trolling cigar minnows has been the method of choice.
A few mahi have been hooked in the same areas.
The bottom fishing in this same range has produced keeper-sized black sea bass on cut mullet or squid. Good wahoo and dolphin can be found 40-65 miles offshore. Trolling skirted ballyhoo is the key to connecting with these species.
Some scamp grouper have been caught while bottom fishing beyond 40 miles.
Shane, of Fin-Fisher Charter Service, reports that good numbers of flounder have been landed inshore, with even some citation-sized fish mixed in. Bucktails and pogies have been the bait of choice.
There has been a great “gator” trout bite this past week, with several fish over the 5 lb. mark and a few pushing 7 lbs. Topwater baits early in the morning have produced the quality trout.
Red drum (some in the 6-7 lb. range) have been caught using live pogies around structure in the waterway and area creeks.
Nearshore, the cobia are starting to show up, and they should be willing to take a live pogie or plastic-tipped bucktail. Kings can be found in the same area, and trolling cigar minnows is the ticket. A good depth to target is around 18’ of water (preferably near a local reef).
Kevin, of Rigged and Ready Charters, reports that inside 1-2 miles from the beach, the spanish have been feeding and are striking Clarkspoons on #1 planers. From 1-5 miles out, trolling live bait has produced some nice catches of king mackerel. Anglers trolling live bait nearshore are also having luck with a cobia or two.
Heading offshore in the 40-50 mile range, anglers are pulling up grouper and a variety of other bottom fish. The trick has been to jig up live pinfish on a sabiki rig and use them for bait.
Cecil, of Rod and Reel Shop, reports that the pompano have been active in the surf, with whiting mixed in. The pompano have been feeding heavy on sand fleas, and the whiting have been taking either sand fleas or fresh shrimp.
Red drum and flounder have been a little more active in the area, and they have been landed mostly on live mud minnows and pogies.
The spanish and king fishing has been slow due to the dirty water in the area.
Kyle, of Speckulator Inshore Fishing Charters, reports that the redfish bite has been hot lately. Anglers should use mud minnows on Carolina rigs. Black drum have been mixed in in the same areas as the reds, and they prefer fresh shrimp.
Those looking for speckled trout should use floats with live shrimp or Billy Bay Halo Shads. Focus on the waterway. Topwater lures in the morning have also produced some of the larger trout.
The flounder bite remains good on mud minnows and mullet. Most of the flounder have been small, but some keepers are mixed in.
Bob, of Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier, reports that anglers are hooking good numbers of black drum. A small number of whiting and spots have also been landed this past week. All of these fish have bit fresh shrimp on the bottom.
When using live bait, anglers have landed quite a few flounder, but most have been undersized.